Vasundhara Das (born 27 October 1977) is an Indian singer, actress, composer, entrepreneur, speaker, songwriter and environmental activist.
Vasundhara’s films include Hey Ram (Tamil/Hindi), Monsoon Wedding (English), Citizen (Tamil), Ravana Prabhu (Malayalam), Lankesh Patrike (Kannada) and several others. Vasundhara has worked with composers such as A. R. Rahman, Vijaya Bhaskar, Yuvan Shankar Raja and G. V. Prakash Kumar to name a few.
Vasundhara’s current focus is on music composition at her Bangalore based studio called The Active. She has also been involved in several independent projects such as Channel V Jammin’, BBC‘s HIV awareness anthem for India ‘Har Kadam’, Mission Ustaad, Arya, Global Rhythms, Nylon Soundz and most recently, The Shah Hussain Project, a collaborative album with Sufi singer Mir Mukhtiyar Ali.
She won the Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer – Tamil for the film Mudhalvan
She was born into a Hebbar Iyengar family on 27 October 1977 in Bangalore, Karnataka and studied at Cluny Convent High School, Bangalore, Sri Vidya Mandir, Bangalore and Mount Carmel College, Bangalore, graduating in Economics, Statistics and Mathematics. She began training in Hindustani classical music under her grandmother Indira Das and later trained under Lalita Kaikini and Pandit Parameshwar Hegde.
In her college days, she was a lead singer of a girl band and was soprano in the college choir. In an interview, she states that – “I got booed off the first time I sang on stage”. She is a polyglot and speaks Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, English, Malayalam, Hindi and Spanish. In 2012, Vasundhara married her long-time friend, Roberto Narain, a drummer.
As an actress
In 1999, Vasundhara began acting with Kamal Hassan in the film Hey Ram. She played the lead actress alongside Mohanlal in the Malayalam movie Raavana Prabhu, with Ajith Kumar in the Tamil movie Citizen and with Darshan in the Kannada movie Lankesh Patrike. She also starred in Mira Nair‘s movie Monsoon Wedding.
She worked with playback singing career with A. R. Rahman‘s Tamil film Mudhalvan, for which she sang the song “Shakalaka Baby”, and thereby winning the Filmfare Best Female Playback Singer Award 2001. She has a French single out in France called L’ete Indien in collaboration with Paris-based Agrumes Studio. She was a founding member of Arya, a world music band that has performed in Europe and America and broke up in 2004.
As a speaker, she has given talks at conferences like INK Talks in association with TED, Confederation of Indian Industries’ Conference for Women Entrepreneurs, AIMA‘s 7th National Brand Summit, TEDx and The Mentor Conclave. She wrote the inaugural blog post for IIT Kanpur‘s eCell Blog. As an entrepreneur, Vasundhara, along with partner Roberto Narain run DRUMJAM, a company that uses the medium of music and rhythm for corporate training, team building and community building. Her studio with partner Roberto Narain, The Active, has produced The Shah Hussain Project, an album of contemporary Sufi music. Also, she has done a critically acclaimed play Wake up Call with an off-Broadway Theatre company, Chilsag Chillies in 2012.